Colombia: Rich landscapes & hospitable locals

My holiday to Colombia was a rather spontaneous decision. Two weeks prior to boarding I had no clue I would end up there! So, what made me decide to visit this country? First of all, Colombia has a huge biodiversity (second biggest to be precise) which greatly appealed to my nature loving heart! Secondly, March is just outside the high season, but not yet in the rainy season. Third, it’s a relatively cheap country. Fourth, it’s safe. Safe?! Yes, safe. Despite it’s reputation I can say I felt as safe as anywhere else I traveled. There are some spots which should be avoided, but Colombians are the sweetest people and they will make sure you won’t get lost in those areas as a tourist. Fifth, I didn’t need a visa. For the fact that I had only 1.5 weeks after booking the flight, this was a fairly important aspect. So, I ended up going to Colombia pretty unprepared and with little expectations. Read along with me what I have experienced in five weeks of aimlessly roaming around this wonderful country 🙂

Bogotá


As much as I would like to skip the big cities, I couldn’t get around a stay in Bogotá. Actually, it was not as bad as expected. Bogotá’s small touristic center is actually a pleasant place to be. Obviously, there is a lot to do such as visiting museums, attending (free) walking/bicycling tours, enjoying nice restaurants and café’s and visiting sights such as Plaza Bolivar and Monserrate. But even simply getting lost in the small touristic center called La Calendaria is a nice thing to do. The neighborhood is littered with beautiful, small and colorful houses and, most important, with beautiful, big and even more colorful graffiti’s.

Salento

After spending a day in Bogotá, I headed to Salento. As usual, nature was calling me 🙂 In order to get to Salento you need to catch a bus to Armenia and from there another bus to the small town of Salento. Most people will advice you to travel with Boliviarano, which is also the company I took. Booking in advance is not needed, especially in the morning there are various options. The bus ride took me …. Hours. If you have little time and you don’tenjoy sitting jn the bus, watching the scenery pass by like I do, flying is an option as well. Viva Colombia offers pretty cheap domestic flights (flights ca €35 versus €13 euro with the bus). In order to reach Salento you will need to fly to Pereira and from there either take a taxi or wait for a bus that passes hourly. I would recommend you taking the bus from Bogota though, especially if you have some more time. It’s a beautiful bus ride through the lush Colombian mountains which could be considered a tourist attraction in itsself.
Salento itsself is a very small and pretty village surrounded by mountains. There is not a lot to do inside the village, but many tours are offered in the surrounding area, such as hikes, coffee tours and horseback riding. The main highlight is hiking in the Cocora Valley, which I will write about in the next section.

Cocora Valley

This beautiful valley is the reason why so many tourists flock to the tiny town of Salento and it’s definitely worth it. From the main square there are hourly jeeps leaving for 4000 COP to take you to the beginning of the hike. From here most people start the hike counterclockwise, entering through the blue gate on your right side. This is mainly because the nicest part is to the left and peope would rather want to save the best for the last. A second reason for me was that there is a small part which is a bit steep which I prefer to go up rather than down. Nu
The trail is marked pretty well and will lead you through a jungle. The only part that was not that clearly indicated is where to turn left in order to climb up the hill. If you have maps.me it will be clearly indicated on the map and otherwise you will have to watch out for the first signpost for the Casa de Colibris. In order to get to the hummingbird house (which I didnt do) you will have to continue straight, otherwise turn left. Once you continue you will see another signpost for the house and another trail to the left. This is a pretty steep trail which leads to a hike which takes 3-4 days, but for a daytrip it’s not worth the effort. It will only lead you through more jungle and will robb all your energy since it’s so steap.

Up until the point where you have to turn left it takes you about an hour. From there it’s a 30 min climd to the Finca La Montanha. From this point on you will follow a broad and easy trail down which will reward you with beautiful views over the valley for the next 1-1.5 hours. As you can see it took me about 3-3.5 hours for the trail (breaks and detours excluded) but many people will tell you it takes about 5-6 hours. I don’t consider myself to be a very quick hiker, so be aware that the hike might be shorter than expected. But that’s no problem as it will only give you more time to soak in the beauty of this valley.

Coffee tour

I actually didn’t want to do the tour as I heard from people that it’s not that interesting. In the end I went anyways together with a nice group of people I had met in the hostel. You can choose from two different tours: a tour on a big, commercial farm for 15000 COP or a tour on a small farm for 10000. I generally prefer to support the small local places and so did the rest of the group, so we went to the Finca Al…. Transportation back and forth was another 6000. The tour itsself takes about an hour and is indeed not very spectacular, as you can see on the faces of my friends on the picture below :p

Medellin

I didn’t really know what to think about Medellin before going there. On the pictures it didn’t really look that great, but everyone was raving about it. I met many people telling me they stayed for a week, because they enjoyed it so much. As I am not that much of a city person I wanted to skip the city all together. But I had a friend from university living there and I really wanted to meet her. So, I ended up staying two nights.
The first day I arrived in the early evening. I ended up going to a music festival which was held in different parts of the city. I only went to the part which was hosted by Selina Hostel, the biggest hostel I have seen in my life. Three girls I had met on the way were staying at that hostel at well, so I met up with them as well. We had a fun night, but I slowly started to understand why people were raving about Medellin. As I had suspected even before coming Medellin is simply invaded by hipsters. I am not that much of a hipster and therefore did not feel very comfortable in that scene.
I ended up staying another day because I wanted to spend time with the girls. We took the cable car which gives you nice views over the city (but only while you are sitting there, not once you arrive). It was an interesting thing to do and doesn’t cost a lot, but it was not spectacular. What I found far more spectacular were the Colombians we met on the way. I had liked the Colombians right from the start but that day we had conversations with several Colombians and they are really super friendly! I was surprised how they could be so interested and friendly despite the upcoming mass tourism.
Two young English students told us about the city and I started to understand the hype about it. It’simply a city history and character. Medellin used to be one of the most dangerous cities up until about 10 years ago, when Pablo Escobar died. According to the students, not only Escobars death contributed to the drop in crime rate, but also the building of the cable car. With the cable car people were free to move and had easier access to education. It was crazy to hear the students talking about their childhood in which they frequently heard gunshots which sometimes restricted them from going to school. They even told us that they used to encounter corpses on the streets. I couldn’t believe all of this was only 10 years ago. Now I felt very safe in the city, even walking alone after sunset was no problem.
Even though I did not particularly dislike Medellin (apart from the hipsters) I still didn’t stay longer. I really felt that I didn’t want to be in the city and apart from expensive and fancy places to eat and party Medellin didn’t really have that much to offer. I guess I am just not a good consumer, but if you enjoy nice restaurants and fancy parties with electronic music than Medellin is your place to be!

Guatapé

I rather wanted to stay in Medellins closeby Guatapé. It’s a small city surrounded by a lake which is covered in small islands. Guatapé’s most famous tourist attraction is the rock “Piedra dell Peñol” which you can climb with 675 steps. From the top of the rock you have a wonderful view over the sea and the many small islands. Entrance costs COP 18000.

But also the town of Guatapé is a tourist attraction. It’s a tiny small town full of colourful houses with kitsch fresco’s. Guatapé is by far the most kitsch city I have ever seen in my life. Sometimes I felt like I was walking in an artificial city.
What I enjoyed almost most was the hostel I stayed at, Galeria Hostel Guatapé. The hostel is situated 3 km from the city and has a beautiful view over the lake and the Piedra. The hostel has it’s own little dock where you can relax and from where you can jump into the refreshing water. They also have a kayak which you can rent for 15 000 COP per hour. I stayed a day longer in Guatapé just to relax in the hostel.

Capurganá

In the hostel in Guatapé we got the recommendation to go to Capurganá, a small village near to the border to Panama. From Guatapé we took a bus in the afternoon to Medellin. From there we took the nightbus at 19:45 to Necoclí where we arrived at 5 am. Necoclí is a small town where you can’t really do anything but take the boat to Capurganá which leaves at 8, so we decided to wait until that time. Fortunately, there was a bakery near to the busstation which was opened. From 6 o clock we were able to buy the ticket for the boat which was again very near to the bakery. The boat costs COP 70 000 one way, 2 6000 for taxes and an additional COP 1000 for every kilo of your luggage that weighs more than 10 kg.
As you can see it’s not particularly easy (or cheap) to get to this place and to be honest it’s not even that beautiful. When we arrived the weather was bad, it was cloudy and the water was very rough. On top of that it turned out the beaches were full of garbage from the ocean. And still it was my favorite place in Colombia, I just loved the vibe. There weren’t as many tourists as in other places and it was the first place I had been that actually made me feel like I was in Colombia. The locals are very friendly and laid back. They seem to be less affected by the Western world as the other parts of Colombia. There are barely cars in Capurganá and the main mode of transport is by horse (and carriage) which pleasantly throws you back in time.

In order to enjoy the silence in Capurganá even more, we booked a hostel one hour walking distance/10 min boat ride (COP 10 000) from the village, near the Bahia Aguacate. There is a hostel directly at the beach, but we took one 5 minutes away, Kachikine, which was not directly at the beach, but was 3 minutes from another beach. Both beaches were quiet. Especially the one near Kachikine was practically deserted. The only disadvantage of this beach is that the water can be pretty rough, which can be dangerous if you enter too deep. Bahia Aguacate is a bay with calm and safe water.

El Cielo

The first hike we made was to El Cielo, a tiny national park approximately 40 min from Capurganá. The main highlight is a waterfall and a view point. Both were rather unimpressive. Maybe the viewpoint is better on a sunnier day. At least we got to see some Tuncans which was the highlight of the day.

Sapzurro/La Miel

This is the most famous hike in the area. Sapzurro is a very pretty beach, about 1.5 hours from Capurganá. It’s possible to stay at Sapzurro as well, we passed by some hostels and even campings. The beach seems to be popular with the locals and is definitely busier than the beaches in town and near our hostels.
From Sapzurro it’s only a 20 minute hike to La Miel, another pretry beach in Panama. If you intend to go there, take your passport. You won’t get a stamp, but they will note your passport number. We didn’t stay very long in La Miel, as we wanted to be back on time for the last boat from Sapzurro to Capurganá (COP 10 000) at 4.30 PM.

Cartagena

With pain in our heart we left Capurganá and made our way to Cartagena taking the boat at 10 am. Upon arrival in Necoclí (around 12- 1 pm) people will immediately sell you bus tickets to Cartagena for COP 70 000, telling you it’s the last bus. I am not 100% sure whether this is the case, but due to the bad internet connection in Capurganá we couldn’t investigate the situation very well.
At around 10 pm we arrived in Cartagena and for me it was clear right from the start that I didn’t want to stay in Cartagena for too long. Especially after those peaceful days in Capurganá, I had difficulties dealing with the crowded city. And Cartagena is everything but relaxed, believe me. We ended up spending only half a day in the city, but for me that was more than enough. The city is pretty, but especially for Europeans this kind of architecture is not that unfamiliar. The streets are full of people who are trying to sell you overpriced souvenirs and not exactly in the friendliest manner.

Honestly, my highlight in Cartagena was when we were looking for an affordable beer and ended up in a small district with only locals. They played salsa music and ate fried chicken. Once in a while someone would pass by, spontaneously dancing a bit of salsa and then moving on again. A guy, who turned out to be the owner of the salsa booth, started chatting with us and offered us a traditional rice drink. He was the first friendly person in Cartagena and we simply enjoyed the laid back and friendly atmosphere in the midst of this hectic city.

Santa Marta

Honestly, there is not much to do in Santa Marta. Most people only stay there in order to move to Minca and to Tayrona National Park and to leave their backpacks when going to the park. And yet still I greatly enjoyed my time simply because we stayed at a great hostel. I can warmly recommend the Tiki Hut Hostel. The hostel has a great atmosphere with friendly staff, a nice and spacious patio with a small pool and new and clean rooms. It’s a great place to just spend a day, relax at the pool or in a hammock, read a book and unwind from all the travelling 🙂

Minca

Minca is a popular destination only 45 minutes from Santa Marta. It’s a small village in a mountainous area covered by jungle. This makes it a good destination for hiking. Minca has a couple of attractions of which the huge hammock overlooking the mountains at Casa Elemento is the main one. Other attraction are waterfalls, a viewpoint, a coffee farm and a cacao farm. All these attractions (except for the cacao farm) can be visited in a loop. You could visit all these places in one day, but that would mean that you can only spend little time at the sights. We split the loop and visited the sights in two days.

Marinka Waterfall & Casa Elemento

This day we took off early in order to avoid the crowds at the waterfall. From Minca it’s about an hour to the waterfall (entrance COP 4000). The hike is easy and leads mostly along a motorbike trail (which takes away a bit of the hiking fun unfortunately…). When we arrived there we were surprised to see that there were only two other people. The waterfall is pretty and you can take a refreshing swim in the water after the hike. After the swim you can relax in the hammocks at the restaurant. Just two minutes from the waterfall is another waterfall which is worth a short visit.

After having relaxed at the waterfall for an extensive time we continued our hike to Casa Elemento. Soon we started to meet more and more people coming down, asking for the way to the waterfall. We started to realize that most people probably go to Casa Elemento by motorbike first (COP 20 000) and then hike down. This does indeed make sense, but also means that the waterfall is probably more crowded towards the afternoon.

The hike from the waterfall to Casa Elemento is more fun in the sense that it leads through small paths rather than on motorways. But sometimes nature comes with it’s downsides. I’m not sure whether it was insects or plants, but after the hike my legs where covered in red swollen marks which looked like insect bites. It took a long time for my legs to recover from this attack, so make sure to take a repellent for this hike!

In order to enter Casa Elemento you have to pay COP 10 000 which includes a drink and gives you access to the pool and, of course, to the big hammocks. Since we had arrived walking and not by motor bike, we had come across a part of the hostel which was accessible for free, just a bit higher than where the reception is. This is also where we took the pictures, because there were barely any people around except for us.

We still ended up going to the main part of Casa Elemento, simply because we wanted to use the pool and craved a cold beer after the hike. In hindsights, we could have skipped this part. The atmosphere was not very inviting and it was pretty crowded . I can not really put my finger on the reason why I didn’t enjoy the atmosphere, all I know is that I didn’t really feel like staying there for too long. After we finished our beers and took a dip into the (tiny) pool, we decided it was better to relax at our hostel. We stayed in a hostel called “Casa Relax” and the name really suits it well. It was a very quiet hostel and a perfect place to just unwind, read a book or chill with the friendly staff.

Los Pinos & Pozo Azul

The next day we were smarter, this time we took a mototaxi up to Los Pinos (COP 25 000) and from there walked down. From Los Pinos you are supposed to have a wonderful view which reaches all the way to Santa Marta, but the visibility was bad that day. We could see Santa Marta eventually, but it took some time and concentration. If you want to see the view from the other side, you will have to pay a small fee (COP 2000).

From Los Pinos it’s an easy walk down to Pozo Azul. It was a lot more crowded than the waterfall but also has more space. We only took a quick dip into the water and then went back to our hostel to enjoy another relaxing afternoon 🙂

We didn’t go to either the coffee farm nor the cacao farm. After the experience in Salento we knew it was potentially boring. If you want to buy cacao products, there as small cacao museum in the center of the village, opposite to the police office.

p.s. If you are really in to hiking, it seems there is a wonderful trail called Cerro Kennedy. It takes at least 2 days and a bit of organization to do it though. If you have the time (and money) to spare, I think it might be worth it!

Tayrona National Park

This is the place probably all toruist coming to Colombia want to visit. And it’s definitely worth it! Before coming check whether the park is opened, because it’s periodically closed so the flora and fauna can restore from the mass tourism (Thumbs up!). When we arrived the park had just opened up again, after it was closed for a month in February.

From Santa Marta it’s very easy to get to the park. There’s a bus that will drop you off directly in front of the gate. Entrance fee is normally around COP 40 000 but changes in holiday seasons. Obviously, there was some holiday while we were there and the price was COP 55 000.

At the entrance there are people giving you information about the park and the accomodations. It’s possible to book your accomodation straight away with them. They will give you three options: Castilletes, Arrecifes and Cabo San Juan. The first camping is the nearest (30 min walk from gate/5 min by bus). It offers hammocks for 25 000 and tents for 60 000 (for two people). It is the only camping with a kitchen and Wi-Fi. Arrecifes is about one hour walk from the place where the bus which leaves from the main entrance drops you. There you can stay in hammocks for COP 33 000. The last option is the most wanted option, because it is situated directly next to the most beautiful beach, Cabo San Juan. It’s also one of the two beaches where you can actually swim. A hammock costs COP 40 000 per person.

We opted for the first camping (Castilletes), because we had taken food with us. In the end this was a very wise decision. The camping was actually very nice and spacious, full of palm trees. Our tent was very near to the ocean. It wasn’t possible to swim from that beach, but I spent hours just relaxing in the water and playing with the waves. Especially during the day it was a great place to be. Everyone was hiking to the other beaches which offered a lot of tranquility to just lay back and relax. There is also a great viewpoint near to the camping. If you follow the beach to the left, you will see a huge rock which you can climb. The view from there is really beautiful!

p.s. If you also want to cook for yourself (which makes sense because food is pricey, basic meals starting from COP 18 000), be aware that you will have to make your own fire. So, make sure you take food that doesn’t need to cook for too long and enjoy the adventure of back to basic life!

Arrecifes, Cabo San Juan & La Piscina

One day we did a day tour to the surrounding beaches. It is a nice hike through the jungle which takes about 2.5 hours one-way. Since we didn’t really stop at Arrecifes, I can’t really say much about it. We had nice views over the ocean on the way and from Arrecifes it’s also not possible to swim, so it didn’t really make sense to stop there.

Obviously, we did stop at Cabo San Juan. But honestly, I almost wanted to turn back once I saw how busy the beach was. It is indeed a beautiful beach, but the amount of people really takes away the reason why I go to beaches (connecting to nature and relaxing). Fortunately, my travel mate wasn’t interested in staying at Cabo San Juan either. We took some nice pictures and enjoyed the view, but we soon moved on to a beach just five minutes from Cabo.

If you walk to the end of the beach, you will see a small trail leading to another beach. This trail will lead you to a much quieter beach which is still very pretty. Once again, swimming is not possible here, but you can enter and just enjoy the beauty and the tranquility of the surroundings 🙂

San Gil

San Gil is mainly known for it’s outdoor activities, such as rafting, paragliding, rappeling hiking and biking. The town itself is sweet, but doesn’t really have a lot to offer. But there are some options for the lazy days near to San Gil which are the pozo azuls (which I didn’t visit) and the waterfall.

Waterfall Juan

From San Gil take the bus to…and you will be dropped off after ca 30 minutes. The main entrance to the waterfall is right next to street. Entrance costs COP 9 000. From there it’s a 15 minute walk to the waterfall. Most people go to the waterfall to rappel down from it, but it’s surely also a relaxing place to just sit, read a book and maybe go for a swim.

Camino Real

Barichara – Guane – Villanueva (3.45 h)

The Camino Real is a hike that leads through some beautiful and old villages near San Gil. The official start is at Cabrera, but most people only do the part from Barichara to Guane, as this is the most “official” part of the track. In order to get to Barichara take the bus from San Gil, leaving from the Terminalito (COP 5000). Before you rush to the beginning of the trail, take some time to appreciate the small town of Barichara. It’s a very charismatic, sleepy, old town and it’s worth strolling around for a bit before you head immediately to Guane.


The part between Barichara and Guane is the only part of the trail that is entirely covered by stones during the entire trail. This part took me 1.5 hours (all time indications are excluding breaks and getting, including time to take pictures, starting from beginning of trail until the end of the trail). From the trail you have some nice views over the surrounding mountains, but unfortunately it was cloudy the day I went and there wasn’t that much to see. Fortunately, Guane is again a wonderful, sweet villages, even sleepier and older than Barichara.

From here the hike continues straight to Villanueva. Take enough water/food as there is nothing to buy on the way. The entire Camino Real is on maps.me, so it’s advisable to use this app. Especially as this part of the trail can get a bit tricky. Unfortunately, maps.me also has imperfections which is why I was happy to have had printshots from road descriptions on internet. Those two combined helped me to get to Villanueva with only getting lost twice!
Here are some examples of where I went wrong: 1. Turn right and then immediately left once you reach the first big intersection. Maps.me will suggest a different way where you turn left and later right. This trail will probably also leads to Villanueva but is not part of the Camino Real. 2. Once you have been to the Mirador de la Virgen, go back down to the dirt road just under it and continue walking. Maps.me will pretend as if you are off road, but you are right on track. Just make sure to go straight (looks more like a left turn) once you reach the two farms to your right (some 5 min after the Mirador). 3. When you reach the top (just after Mirador del Valle), turn left and from there pretty quickly turn right to walk down to the city. The way to your right doesn’t really resemble a foot path, but rather a ditch. Don’t be confused, you’re still on the right track! The way down is not particularly clear, just make sure you regularly check maps.me whether you are on the right track. Also the yellow stickers on the stones will indicate that you are walking in the right direction.
Villanueva is, as the name says, not one of the pretty, old towns. It’s a new town where nothing really is going on. I stayed at the only guesthouse I could find on maps.me (Hotel Villados) and paid COP 25 000 for a single room with bathroom. The room was simple, but clean. And since I was the only guest in the hotel, I enjoyed one of the best WiFi in Colombia!

Villanueva – Jordán (4.5 h)

In order to avoid the heat, I left early in the morning at 6 am. The hike is less complicated, but make sure you keep maps.me and directions from internet handy since the trail is not signposted. If you are unsure, you can also ask the locals, they always seem to be happy to help 🙂

The first part of the trail will lead slightly uphill (maybe 30 min) from there you will only have to descend. After 1 h 15 min you will reach the viewpoint which definitely worth a visit. I enjoyed the view so much, I stayed for an hour, enjoying the view and the tranquility. In general, you won’t meet many people on this trail. I met a couple of people on the first day up until Guane, but from that point on, I seemed to be on a road less traveled 🙂 Even the beautiful view over the Chicamocha Canyon didn’t seem to attract that many people. There seems to be a possibility to reach this place by car, but for sure it’s not heavily advertised.

After the viewpoint the heavy 900 meter descend into the canyon starts. It’s far from a pleasant descend, especially for people like me with weak ankles and knees. Even worse, the further you get down, the hotter it gets. Really make sure to carry enough water, the heat hits you a lot harder than the general heat in Colombia.

From Jordán I actually had to hike the 900 meters up again to Los Santos (2 hours) from where I could catch a bus towards San Gil. I was told that from Los Santos I had to take a bus for two hours which would bring me to some crossing from where I could catch another bus to San Gil (approximately 1 hour).

By the time I had reached the valley it was nearly noon and the heat was reaching its limit. And so was I. I definitely didn’t want to hike up again and then embark on the cumbersome journey back to San Gil. Chances of finding transportation from here seemed to be small, as Jordán only exists of about four streets. But even before I reached Jordán a man on a motorbike stopped next to me and asked me where I was going. He told me for COP 40 000 he would bring me to the main street (45 min) and from there I could catch a bus to San Gil (30 min). I was so happy with this news, within 5 seconds I jumped on the back of his moto!

Tatacoa Desert

Going to the Tatacao Desert was not part of my initial plan, but it was definitely a wise decision. The desert is not too far from Bogota (5-7 hours), but it’s generally not on most tourists’ itinerary. Coming there seems to be a bit complicated, but it’s definitely worth it! From Bogotá you take a bus to Neiva. From there you take a colectivo to Villavieja (ca. 45 min) and from there tuktuks and taxi’s will be waiting for you to take you to the desert. The best known place to sleep is Noches de Saturno, but there are plenty of other places offering cheap accomodation in hammocks and tents. I stayed in Noches de Saturno which was a good place but decent food for reasonable prices.

Officially, the Tatacao Desert is not a real desert, but it’s nevertheless beauitful! It’s also pretty small and can be done in a few hours, but make sure not to go mid-day. Even though it’s not officially a desert, it’s still pretty hot during the day. In the night you have the option to visit the observatory for some stargazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it, because all nights I stayed were cloudy.

The grey desert

Not far from the the Tatacao Desert there is another “desert-like” area, called the grey desert. There are several ways to get there (e.g. bicycle, moto taxi, walk) but I chose by far the best way: by horse! There are many horse rentals in the area and some of them will even allow you to take the horse without a guide. As I had met three other people with horse riding experience, we took only the horses (for the incredible price of 15 000 COP per hour!) and it was definitely one of the best experiences I had in Colombia! Riding on the back of this powerful horse through this beautiful landscape made me shed some tears of gratitude 🙂 Unfortunately, it’s not possible to enter the grey desert with the horse, but you can easily leave it near the entrance and pick it up later.

General Impressions

In total I spent five weeks in Colombia, which in hindsight is actually not enough. The country is huge and  has many things to offer. But honestly, I really enjoyed the people and could have spend some extra time at some places, just hanging out with the locals 🙂 Despite mass tourism, I found Colombians very friendly and interested in tourists. This is probably due to the fact that most people are not yet used to tourism. Whatever the reason, travelling in Colombia feels very safe and is much fun, especially with (basic) knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese as in my case.

Nature wise I was a bit disappointed. Undoubtedly, Colombia has many beautiful places to offer, but some of them are completely ruined by tourism. It almost looks like tourism has developed so quickly that the country didn’t have time to respond adequately. Many places feel overrun and the infrastructure is not yet developed enough to run away from these touristy places. Maybe I could have found a way if I had more time, but 5 weeks and no time for proper preparation forced me to take the touristic route…

But also Colombia is on my list of countries I have to visit twice. And next time I definitely want to spend more time with the people, maybe doing (voluntary) work and exploring the rather unknown side of this beautiful country and its warmhearted people 🙂

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